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OrderCenter-HorizIPAD_webOn a list of the things that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on (like most newspapers, other than the Jpost, of course!), one would have to include product warranties. We probably don’t even realize it, but almost everything we buy has a warranty, whether explicitly stated or implicitly guaranteed by an act of government. Technically, we’re protected from wasting our money on shoddy merchandise, food, and services. It’s a matter of custom – and often, a matter of law.

And yet, says Ofer Yourvexel, CEO of WRNTY, “it appears that as many as 80% of consumers don’t even bother to send in the warranties for the products they buy, based on information we get from manufacturers.” And all of us know why, too: Sending the warranty in, attaching the receipt, filling in all the boxes and lines, and stuffing the whole thing into an envelope is a hassle – and just so 20th century! Why don’t companies make it easier for us to file warranties? Why not just let us register a product warranty via e-mail? It’s as if they’re trying to make it harder for us to get the protection we’re supposed to have!

Actually, that’s not the case – and Yourvexel’s company is the proof: WRNTY (a take off on the word “warranty”) provides the world’s first hi-tech warranty service for independently owned (as well as mid-sized chain) retail establishments, automatically processing warranty information on products as they’re purchased – while providing sellers, distributors, and manufacturers with information they would have otherwise had to work very hard to get.

WRNTY was started in 2006 by company founder Kfir Bar-Levav, a veteran of the watch industry, so it seemed natural for the company to start streamlining the warranty process in for watch customers when the company started selling its solution last year. “We have a lot of contacts among watch and jewelry distributors, but we see this only as a beginning – we plan to expand to at least two more industries, including electronics, by the end of 2001,” says Yourvexel.

The benefits of WRNTY’s software-based system is a no-brainer for consumers, he says. “Instead of having to fuss with papers and envelopes, we automatically upload warranty information for every product sold by retailers using the system. The information is stored in the cloud, and is accessible by the customer on their own secure site. They also get an SMS acknowledging their purchase When they need service, they go to the authorized repair center or the store, and the information is right there, easily accessible.” Once the item goes in for repair, customers can keep track of where it is in “the system,” when it will be ready, etc. And, if customers are particularly proud of their purchase (as they would be with a watch they like) they can use their site to send out a Facebook link to the page with a photo of the exact model they own on the manufacturer’s site.

WRNTY solves a thorny problem for consumers, but it’s heaven-sent for retailers and distributors, helping them to corral information that, until the system came on-line, was very hard to get hold of. “Distributors know what they sold to stores, but they don’t know what the stores sold to customers,” says Yourvexel. “Information about retail sell-out of items they order is essential, so they can spot trends and target customer needs – and avoid ordering products that don’t sell.” WRNTY’s sell-out and inventory application makes it easy for wholesalers to know exactly what was sold, where, and when – thanks to the warranty information, which is automatically transmitted to them.

That information can be used by distributor salespeople, as well; WRNTY supplies a unique iPad app designed for salespeople, who, when they walk into a retailer, know exactly what lines were most popular, and enabling them to recommend products that the store will be able to move quickly. “This way stores only order what they need, and distributors have an easier job selling their goods,” Yourvexel says. And, of course, there’s the repair aspect of the system, which ensures that distributors know exactly what level of service each product is supposed to get – saving time, money, and frustration for everyone involved.

With WRNTY, the retailer wins, too, says Yourvexel. “With the information they collect on the warranty information, stores can start customer clubs, painlessly collecting information on their customers’ tastes, making it easier for them to target offers to them.” Studies show that customers are far more willing to give up personal information in return for a benefit – like a streamlined warranty system that saves them time and effort. “People don’t necessarily like clubs, but they do want a warranty on what they’ve purchased,” Yourvexel says. In addition, he says, retailers get an application that helps them track inventory – plus they get free Facebook advertising every time a customer shares their purchase with friends.

While there are other solutions for inventory control and sell-out data gathering, says Yourvexel, none are aimed at the market segment WRNTY serves – small and mid-size retailers – and none, anywhere, provide the warranty solutions as the company does. So far, WRNTY has deals with watch and jewelry retailers in Israel and Europe, and just closed a deal to work with a big retailer in Brazil. It’s a unique idea, and investors agree; WRNTY recently received a very healthy investment from several angels. “By the end of the year we hope to be serving 10,000 jewelry shops around the world, and we plan to be working in at least two other industries,” says Yourvexel. Who knows – WRNTY makes “collecting” off your warranty so much fun, you just might “accidentally” drop your watch just to feel what it’s like to finally get some real warranty service!

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